The Swedish pharmaceutical development company Adenovir Pharma has started a phase II clinical study for the treatment of an infectious eye disease. Caused by adenoviruses, millions of people are infected every year by epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). There are currently no effective antiviral treatments available. Adenovir has already completed a clinical phase I study among 48 healthy volunteers and showed that the drug candidate is safe and well tolerated.
Adenovir is now continuing the development of a pharmaceutical product for the treatment of EKC and has started a double-blind randomised phase II clinical study at six eye clinics in Sweden and Germany. Several patients have already been treated. In total the study may include up to 130 patients and is estimated to be completed in 2014.
“In a global perspective EKC is a very common eye disease with millions of people infected every year. We also see many cases in Sweden. Since there is currently no effective antiviral treatment, we hope this drug candidate can be developed to become the treatment that the patients need,” says doctor Carl-Gustaf Laurell, S:t Erik’s Eye Hospital in Stockholm, and principle investigator for the study.
Adenovir Pharma is a project company that is part of the life science incubator P.U.L.S. AB in Helsingborg, Sweden. It uses unique patented technology and aims to develop a new antiviral medicinal product for the treatment of epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC).
“This drug candidate takes a different and unique approach to treat the virus. If successfully developed, it could become the first effective antiviral treatment of EKC and it could solve a major medical problem,” says professor Gerd Geerling, University Eye Clinic in Düsseldorf, and in charge of the study at the German eye clinics.
About epidemic keratoconjunctivitis
External ocular infections caused by adenoviruses are among the most common eye infections worldwide. Conjunctivitis accounts for a large proportion of patient visits to ophthalmologists. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), which is caused by adenoviruses, is a serious and highly-contagious disease. Globally, EKC affects millions of people every year. EKC occurs sporadically and epidemically and is endemic in many regions. The economic and social costs of community EKC epidemics are high. Work places and public institutions, such as schools and day care centres, must be closed when the outbreak of an EKC epidemic is detected. Many productive hours are lost each year as a consequence of the disease. EKC is recognised as a major health problem in affected regions. A pharmaceutical therapy that can be used both to treat EKC and to prevent the spread of infection is highly desirable for affected patients, for those who come into contact with such patients, and for treating physicians. Currently, there are no approved treatments. Patients with EKC receive no medical therapy other than for symptomatic relief.
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About Adenovir Pharma AB
Adenovir Pharma is a project company that is part of the life science incubator P.U.L.S. AB, based in Helsingborg, Sweden (www.pulsinvest.se). Adenovir Pharma is developing proprietary technology for new antiviral pharmaceutical solutions that can be used in the treatment of infectious eye diseases. The initial development was carried out by virology researchers at Umeå University and chemists from the Department of Organic Chemistry at Lund University in collaboration with P.U.L.S. AB. Several highly-qualified external service providers who specialise in pharmaceutical development have been involved in the development work. The importance of the research carried out at Umeå University on adenovirus receptor molecules, which forms the basis for the development of the new drug, has featured in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine and in the equally high-ranking journals Nature Reviews Drug Discovery and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Adenovir Pharma is developing a new drug in the form of eye drops for the treatment of EKC.
P.U.L.S. (Partners for Development Investments in Life Sciences) acts as an incubator and financier for early projects in life science, mainly pharmaceuticals. The goal is to generate attractive projects for the industry to acquire. The company was founded 2002 and this far nine project companies are started of which two successfully have been divested and one terminated. The P.U.L.S. organization consists of an operative part and approximately thirty partners with extensive experience from research, development and commercialization in life science. The business model relies on early engagement and close collaboration with the innovator. P.U.L.S. provides capital and drives the medical and commercial development of the project companies. P.U.L.S. has its headquarters in Helsingborg, Sweden.